Welcome back to the Chronicles of One Telaran, the third in my series of leveling/lore/exploratory/whatever-else-I-think-of articles based on Trion Worlds MMORPG, RIFT. Last week I sped through the remaining quests in the starting area and was subsequently sucked through a portal into the main game world. It seems some twenty years have passed since I (yes, I, Caedryn the dwarf), destroyed the body of Aedraxis, Avatar of Regulos, banishing him back through the Ward and becoming the hero of the hour. But instead of allowing Caedryn to enjoy his new-found fame, I find myself skipping into the future where things are not at all groovy.
In fact, things are very un-groovy.
It seems that Regulos was weakened after Aedraxis’ body was destroyed. Weakened, but not killed. After Caedryn disappeared, the surviving Ascended formed a new order called the Guardians, and over the following years they worked to strengthen the Ward against Regulos’ return. But the Ward is still weak, and now rifts are popping up all over the place, spewing out evil armies in a manner similar to the vomiting berry scene in The Witches of Eastwick.
The Guardians even formed a truce with the Defiant, those who turned away from the gods of the Vigil to concentrate on techno-magic. Except that’s all fallen apart now and the Defiant and the Guardians are fighting each other just as much as they are fighting the armies of Regulos.
So – why all the hate? The Guardians and the Defiant both want the same thing – to save Telara from Regulos. So why can’t they just, to coin an old expression, “get along”? Let’s have a look, shall we?
The Guardians are your typical good guys. Sort of like the white knight of old. Perfect in their worship of the Gods of the Vigil, relentless in their fight against evil, doing what they believe to be right no matter the cost. So, you know, it’s only expected that they would come across as a bit holier than thou. Which can be pretty annoying, you have to admit. The Guardians are convinced the gods of the Vigil have a grand plan, that they are working towards and making plans for the final battle against evil on the Day of Judgment. But until that time comes, they will do their duty, protecting the people of Telara whether they like it or not.
If the Guardians are like the stuffy, over-protective parents, then the Defiant are the rebellious teenagers. The ones who don’t want to be told what to do, or how to live their lives. The ones who, when told to turn down the music, turn it up instead. Because they’re individuals, man. They are not sheep.
So when the Guardians tried to tell them that the way forward was to put all their faith in the Vigil, to build temples to them even though they were nowhere to be seen, the Defiant were all like, “No way, man! You can't make me do that! I’m leaving!”
And leave they did.
The Defiant are independent. They don’t want to rely on the intervention of the Gods. Gods that, in their view, abandoned the people of Telara when they needed them the most. They don’t want to submit to the Guardians’ rules. They want to do it for themselves. So while the Guardians spend their time praying for guidance and building temples in an attempt to suck up to the Vigil, the Defiant are out in the world building the machines that will save them. They believe that mixing magic and technology is the way forward, that they can create the weapons that will ultimately destroy Regulos and the Blood Storm. And they may have a point. In the twenty years since Caedryn’s departure, the Defiant have actually created magi-tech machines that can raise their own Ascended warriors. They have created through ingenuity what the Guardians received from the Gods.
So they’re feeling a little bit smug at the moment.
After the Shade War, when Aedraxis breached the Ward and tried to bring Regulos back, the Defiant and the Guardians tried to get along. They really did. They realized they had a common goal, and the survivors of both factions departed the scene of the final battle and founded the city of Port Scion together. But as the Ward weakened and more and more rifts opened up throughout the land, the gates of the city were sealed and a magical barrier created by the Defiant was put over the city.
That was when things turned sour. You know those long car trips with kids in the back seat? The constant chattering, yammering, asking for this, for that, the moaning, etc? And you know you can’t escape. You’re stuck in that car until you arrive at your destination? That’s what it was like in Port Scion under the magical barrier. Something had to give. And in this case it was the Guardian traitor, Alsbeth the Discordant. (You’d think with a name like that, they’d have kept more of an eye on her.) Alsbeth destroyed the barrier and opened a death rift to allow the forces of Regulos to overwhelm the city. The Guardians and the Defiant escaped, but now both blame the other for what happened and are at war with each other as well as the forces of Regulos.
And now here we are, at the aftermath of that event.
Oh well. Onward and upward. Next week, a look at the Blood Storm.